Caramel Spice Cake (Stella Parks)

Meet Stella Parks & Her Caramel Spice Cake

Nicole Rucker

Stella Parks is a pastry chef, senior editor at Serious Eats and the baking genius behind James Beard Award–winning cookbook “BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts,” an ode and meticulous guide to classic cakes, cookies, brownies and much more. She’s a veritable encyclopedia of baking knowledge and technique, someone who loves digging into the science of flour, butter and sugar. With delicious results, of course. (Check out her Instagram and see for yourself.)

We had to get Stella to create our holiday cake this year, and she really outdid herself. Her Caramel Spice Cake stacks layers of moist cake sandwiched with cranberry jam — a lighter, brighter complement to rich Thanksgiving sides — and topped off with a cream cheese frosting that strikes that perfect balance between sweet and tangy. And don’t forget that caramel drizzle. As Stella calls it, it’s “Winter’s Greatest Hits.”

If you’re doing some holiday baking of your own this year, try one of Stella’s simple — but genius — tricks to add color and flavor to your dessert spread:

  • To brighten up basic vanilla frostings, pulverize freeze-dried fruits like strawberries or raspberries and dust the top. Pulverized freeze-dried apples mixed with cinnamon and sugar make a great toast topping, too.
  • Keep several different varieties of nuts on hand (our bulk section is a good place to stock up) for easy spins on classics. Swap cashews for peanuts in your favorite peanut brittle, chopped Brazil nuts for chopped walnuts in chocolate chip cookies and beyond. Go nuts!

And one final tip: Even the most accomplished bakers need a night off. Stella’s backup plan for last-minute holiday get-togethers? A few bars of high-quality chocolate, enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea.

Order Stella's Caramel Spice Cake in-store or online starting November 1.

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